Mental health of children and young people

digital mental health
Cyberbullying and websites advocating anorexia and self-harm are posing a danger to the mental well being of children and young people, MPs found. Photograph: Alamy

Extract from The Guardian

Violent video games, the sharing of indecent images on mobile phones, and other types of digital communications, are harming young people’s mental health, MPs warned on Wednesday, amid evidence of big increases in self-harm and serious psychological problems among the under-18s.

Cyberbullying and websites advocating anorexia and self-harm are also posing a danger to the mental wellbeing of children and young people, the Commons health select committee says in its report.

Sarah Wollaston, chair of the committee, who was a GP for 24 years before becoming a Tory MP in 2010, said: “In the past if you were being bullied it might just be in the classroom. Now it follows [you] way beyond the walk home from school. It is there all the time. Voluntary bodies have not suggested stopping young people using the internet. But for some young people it’s clearly a new source of stress.”

However, the MPs said they had found no evidence that the emerging digital culture was behind the worrying rise, of up to 25% to 30% a year, in numbers of children and young people seeking treatment for mental health problems.

The cross-party group acknowledges that forms of online and social communication are now central to the lives of under-18s, but says that a government inquiry into the effects is needed because of the potential for harm.

“For today’s children and young people, digital culture and social media are an integral part of life … this has the potential to significantly increase stress and to amplify the effects of bullying,” the committee’s report says.

Some young people experience “bullying, harassment and threats of violence” when online, the MPs say. While they did not look into internet regulation in depth during their six-month inquiry, they concluded: “In our view sufficient concern has been raised to warrant a more detailed consideration of the impact of the internet on children’s and young people’s mental health, and in particular the use of social media and impact of pro-anorexia, self-harm and other inappropriate websites.”

It calls on the Department of Health and NHS England’s joint taskforce, now investigating, alongside bodies such as the UK Council for Child Internet Safety, the mental health of under-18s, to assess the impact of social media.

The MPs appreciate the move for e-safety to be taught at all four education key-stages in England. But they also want the Department for Education, as part of a review of mental health education in schools, to “ensure that links between online safety, cyberbullying, and maintaining and protecting emotional wellbeing and mental health are fully articulated”.

Wollaston voiced concern that “sexting” (sharing indecent photographs) could be traumatic for vulnerable young women persuaded to pose for intimate pictures then finding the shots shared widely. Some would end up being harassed, she said. Sexting had “become normalised in some school environments”, she said. “We need much better education about the dangers of sexting.” She also expressed unease about the impact of violent video games played by young people. Parents, she said, should do more to check what their offspring were doing online in their free time and talk to them because “if they are spending two hours a night doing that, is that harming their child?”

Lucie Russell, director of campaigns and media at the charity Young Minds, said: “The 24/7 online world has the potential to massively increase young people’s stress levels and multiplies the opportunities for them to connect with others in similar distress. Websites like Tumblr, where there has been recent media focus on self-harm blogs, must do all they can to limit triggering content and that which encourages self-harming behaviour.”

Russell backed the committee’s view that the internet could also be “a valuable source of support for children and young people with mental health problems”. But, she added that “many professionals feel completely out of touch with, even intimidated by, social media and the net”.

The report paints a grim picture of the growing number of under-18s needing care, often struggling to access it, or becoming an inpatient hundreds of miles from home, as children’s and adolescents’ mental health services tried to cope with budget cuts, lack of staff and too few beds.

“Major problems” in accessing services ends with “children and young people’s safety being compromised while they wait for a bed to become available”, say the MPs.

Services are under such pressure that in some parts of England children only get seen by a psychiatrist if they have already tried to take their own lives at least once.

Despite growing need, criteria for being referred for NHS treatment have been tightened in most of England, the MPs say.

Liz Myers, a consultant psychiatrist with the Cornwall Partnership NHS foundation trust, told the inquiry that its services for the young were receiving 4,000 referrals a year, though were only commissioned by the NHS to do 2,000.

“This has meant that we are necessarily having to prioritise those who have the most urgent and pressing need, and we have no capacity for earlier intervention and very little capacity for seeing those perhaps with the less life-threatening or urgent risky presentations.

“There are increasing waits. It is not okay. We do not want that for our children and young people, but we have to just keep prioritising.”

Hilary Cass, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said failure to tackle emerging problems with young people’s mental health meant the issue was now “a hidden epidemic”.

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Who Blogs

The answer of course is everyone.  There are blogs about everything you can think of, just do a search.  What may be missing is YOU. We are all unique and have unique experiences. We have our own view of life and when we blog it is surprising how many like minded individuals there are sharing common interests. I started blogging in 2009 lost a year or so due to illness and  I have an interesting record of what I have been doing. Its a free WordPress blog. I have about ten free WordPress blogs dealing with different topics.

Many people blog because they have identified a problem and want to do something about it. Sexism is rife and here is what one person did about it:

In this troubling and then uplifting TEDx talk, Laura Bates explains how one-after-the-other encounters with sexism made her start asking others about their experiences (at 2:35 in the video) and the surprising answers she got. At 6:25, she talks about the now-busy website she created as a place for women to share their stories, and at 9:54, how a recent change in the tone of those stories gives her hope.

And her blog of comments only is here :Whatever your gender, Bates’ Everyday Sexism site is a fascinating experience and a great place to share stories.

And as you can see I have it on my blog. You can tweet about it by hitting the button below.

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Twitter – What is it?
• Twitter is an online social networking service that enables users to send and read short 140-character messages called “tweets”. The message can include web addresses and other links.

What do you do with it?
• Registered users can read and post tweets, but unregistered users can only read them. Users access Twitter through the website interface, SMS, or mobile device app and you can add links to other sites, photos and videos.

What is tagging?
• A word, phrase or topic that is tagged at a greater rate than other tags is said to be a “trending topic”.
• Trending topics become popular because of an event that prompts people to talk about a specific topic which helps their users to understand what is happening in the world. (Trending right now – Ebola, George Clooney). You can use a hashtag #Ebola

• Advertising – products and events.
• Promotion – prompt events linking to more information in your blog or a web site.
• News feeds- BBC, CNN, The Times.
• Social comment shared with family or just people who follow you.
• Read comments by interesting people or complete idiots.
• You can learn by following links to more information.(follow @TEDTalks).

Why bother?
• Saying something concise in 140 characters is quite difficult. It improves your writing and makes you think in a clear, succinct way.
• You can have your say, by tweeting to news-outlets, (such as BBC Radio – The Source) or by commenting on a service or product, (the service on ABC airline is horrible!)
• You can send photos of events, (omg there’s a shark).
• You are part of a global conversation, (read Yoko Ono, Richard Branson,The Pope).
• You are not alone and it is fun – @EmrgencyKittens (For when you need a kitten (or other type of cat) to cheer you up! )

A friend of mine is a DJ and when she plays certain tunes she will link them to her site via a tweet with the name of the group and title. The members of the group follow her and can see when she plays their tune. They then retweet it to their followers and their followers retweet it so you get a snowball effect.

E.g. coming up next Blues Without You @StoneyCurtisBand,  the “@” sends a direct message to the group.

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Why Blog

editYou have reached this page because you have an interest in blogging or are just curious. There are other blogs like blogger but I use WordPress and today WordPress powers one of every 6 websites on the Internet, nearly 60 million in all, with 100,000 more popping up each day. Those run through its cloud-hosted service, which lets anybody create a free website online, attract 330 million visitors who view 3.4 billion pages every month.

In the early 2000s the Internet began to undergo a fundamental change. No longer was it a passive medium it became something you could contribute to either by commentating or by having your own blog. And you could do it for free. I wanted a companion free site to this one so in a matter of minutes My Third Age. The Internet became truly interactive. With the advent of Twitter in 2006 this became more so.

linkOne keyword covers all this activity and that is “share”. This is why people blog it is to share their thoughts and experiences through the medium of text, pictures and video in a public forum. Sounds very grand but you will find hundreds of thousands of blogs about pets alone. Think of an interest and I bet someone has started a blog about it. You might have a pet goldfish called Sammy who swims around his fish bowel; you stare and wonder what he is thinking; then you think what he might be thinking;(lol) give him your thoughts and could be the next hottest thing on the web. Trivial I know but I believe everyone has something to say. You may be a bit isolated from people or your family a blog can act as a great album for family occasions. If you have a phone you have a camera and  more than likely you can put pictures on the ‘net. Your laptop probably has a web cam you can put a video on your blog. If you have a camera mores the better.

A couple of years ago I lost a lung to cancer, through smoking. You may find it hard to believe but I carried on smoking, a 42 year old habit. Three months ago I realised how stupid this was and started noticing electronic cigarettes. I bought a kit and I haven’t smoked tobacco in the past 3 months. I have kicked the habit. To be more aware I set up a Google alert for every time someone in the news or blog mentioned e-cigarettes. I will be blogging my research findings. See?

dflyTwitter and blogging go hand in hand. You will see at the bottom of the page buttons to share this blog. Each entry automatically goes to my twitter account. The two are linked. You will see too that part of this blog has a twitter feed. This means every time I tweet it appears on my blog page. Thus my page is constantly refreshed.

I have quite a few blogs some with a readership in their thousands. Some are personal and some are political I hope all of them are thought provoking. This blog cost me €12 to set up and I have hosting for free as I have multiple sites. Blogging is a great activity, makes for a great hobby and a way of staying in touch with that wonderful medium that is the Internet.


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From my friend Seren Haven’s blog talking about Second Life (sl) an online 3D virtual world community:

tumblr_lwsnqi5oct1r36hklo1_500_largeMost of us want to make our mark in life somehow. There are few things more disheartening than the feeling that we’ve somehow not lived life to the full and, more to the point, that we’ve not left something of value in our wake – something that says, “i was here!”

There are those of us who feel a sense of horror at the thought that when the time comes to pop our clogs and shuffle off this mortal coil, the only testimony that will remain will be the memories that those closest to us will treasure, and a few faded photographs in a forgotten album.

So we try our utmost to make something lasting that will speak to future generations; tangible evidence that not only were we here, but that we were here with a purpose, that we made a difference and that the world is a better place for us. So, some of us write, or paint, or sing; some do charitable works or live lives of philanthropy; others design and build structures; whilst still others explore the world of academia or pass on their own knowledge to others through teaching. Ultimately, our hope is that at least some of these things will outlive us and go on to inspire, perhaps perplex and form some sort of a connection to those generations that are yet to come. Sometimes, we may even succeed.

You’ll be well aware from many previous posts that i’m entranced, like so many others, with the past – there’s something very special that comes with seeing, touching and sharing something that is far older than oneself, perhaps a family heirloom, handed down and loved through the generations – something that will one day be passed on to the next generation. Then there are the historical artefacts that tell of times long gone; relics of the past that connect us with lives long gone and a world that was very different from the one that we know and, in turn, our own ancestors will no doubt pore over the archaeological finds of the future, amazed at how we managed to get by with our limited ‘internet’ and shaking their heads at our primitive technology.

The same is true of sl: i’ve mentioned on numerous occasions that we should value the virtual things of the past – after all, in a world that changes as rapidly and frequently as sl it’s incredibly easy to forget our roots and the world as it once was, whilst we enjoy all the shiny new and exciting developments as we move into the future. To forget what has gone before is a shameful thing, in my opinion: to do so, devalues the tremendous pioneering work that has gone on before that has made our world as it is today and when the collective memory of a culture fades to the point that it begins to forget its heritage, then it won’t be long before the fundamental things that define it as a culture become assimilated into the wider, blander, less significant whole. A couple of years ago, i watched a programme about a remote tribal culture – it could be argued that the changes wrought as a result of ‘progress’ and being exposed to the modern world were positive overall, however as i watched the tribespeople, clad in their Coca Cola t-shirts and lads playing soccer, because they wanted to be the next David Beckham, i couldn’t help thinking that they’d lost something important. And they had – no-one remained in the village who retained the knowledge of that most basic of human needs: how to make fire. So much for progress.

There’s an awful lot that’s been lost from the collective memory of the sl community too, although if you dig deep enough, you can still find relics from the past and historical accounts of ‘old’ sl – and it’s important that we hang on to these reminders of where we’ve come from. That is why i love the idea of the sl birthday time capsules – repositories of artefacts that give us a taste of everyday SLife as it used to be, so that future generations of residents can use, to be informed and intrigued for – hopefully – many years to come.

This year, i’m incredibly proud to say, my design was chosen to be Second Life’s ninth birthday Time Capsule!

i’m absolutely blown away by the thought that something i’ve created is, quite literally, going to be part of sl history and that it will join that small group of unique pieces that represent the growth and development of sl from its earliest days, right up to the present. Better still, i’m thrilled that my time capsule will contain items preserved as a snapshot in time – a legacy for the future and a reminder of SLife in 2012. It’s a rather humbling thought to know that something you’ve created has been chosen to showcase and represent the sl community in perpetuity, and it’s difficult to express how that makes me feel… little me: a part of sl history! Wow!


There are places I remember 
All my life, though some have changed 
Some forever not for better 
Some have gone and some remain

The Beatles – In My Life 

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The above graphic took ten minutes to produce. I used a font called Medieval Daze it has a dragon in it dragonfont zipextractcomputerThere are thousands of fonts you can download from . You download the font as a zip file, a compressed file. Recent versions of Windows will allow you to extract the zip file. Right click on the zip file and choose extract all. Once it is extracted go to the extracted file and right click on it and choose install.

If your version of windows doesn’t offer this utility go to download the free Windows file and install it. You can then zip and unzip files.  Zip files are used a lot so it is an essential utility. You can shift click on multiple files like pictures and right click and “Send to” the zip file. DaFont fonts are all free for personal use.

page_downloadYou can download Expression Design here it is easy to use and  is sophisticated as you want it to be. I use it for all my graphical work. It will open most file formats and save them in many different formats including Adobe. Manipulating text is a big feature. It uses vector graphics so resizing is very smooth as can be seen in my manipulation of the font. There are hundreds of swatches to use as fills.

Try it it costs nothing and you will see that it will become your graphics program of choice. Please leave a comment especially if you have any questions.

My Main Music Video site is


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My Third Age


The “third age” is described as the period in the life course that occurs after retirement but prior to the onset of disability, revealing a period in which individuals have the capacity to remain actively engaged.

The aim of this site is to provide a resource for those over 60 like me. I will use it to teach blogging. Below is a bit of background.

My first retirement was at 60. Five years ago I was all set to make an impact on the Internet.  I lost two years because of lung cancer. In March I received my pension from the UK when I turned 65. This was how I can afford a new computer, tablet and smart phone.

Google says: About 5,490 results that’s in 5 years for my unique handle on the Internet. There are 10m hits for Philip Finlay Bryan I come up with all the first 20 but Google is biased towards me. However I do have a presence on the net. is my named site. If someone asks for my address on the Internet I can just say Google me.

Scribd has 12k reads these are documents and books i have uploaded.

YouTube 79k views many of Second Life, a virtual community of which I spend a lot of time. I have a job hosting in the most popular blues club.

Blogs about 4k subscribers.

Running 50 generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs)

So for an individual I have made some impact. What hasn’t changed is that apart from my partner Storm and friend Steve I haven’t got any customers. So I have really given up. If someone stumbles across my “selling” domains like Personal I will happily help them out. Might make the odd video advertising them.

I have new tech, a new very impressive high spec PC; a Windows smart phone and an Android tablet. You can read about it on Irish . This was all possible because I received my pension on reaching 65 from the UK government. The Third Age. AND I have new glasses one for seeing outside one for my computer. The computer glasses are superb everything is so clear.

I have also stopped smoking after 40 years. I use e-cigarettes. Fantastic invention. It costs €18 for the kit which includes a battery charger. Batteries last up to 8 hours or so. I have two.

Below is a video I made with me vaping. I can be sooo serious sometimes:

The doctor says I have high cholesterol so i have radically changed my diet to a more healthy one. No more TV dinners. Lots of pro sterols; low fat milk, nuts, oats whole grains etc..

Research has shown that exercise of 200 minutes per week can help stimulate brain growth so I joined the gym where I exercise every day ‘cept Sundays ( I work in Second Life). I also swim. Still early days but i have a good routine designed by my personal trainer.

So at 65 I have radically changed my life I have always been Hi Tech and have reestablished myself with the latest technology, hard to beat my present set up. And I can see it all. I will get healthier as the toxins slowly leave my body. My brain will grow. Don’t see why I can’t look forward to another 20 years or more on this planet. One message seems to be “Use it or lose it” so I intend to use it. I will also do my best to assist others too. To this end I have set up

Oh did I tell you I’m having fun too?

P.S. Please contact me if you would like help over anything Internet especially blogging. I am a not-for-profit person…. This Blog cost €10 a year to register plus a nominal amount to host ,  everything else was free. You can get a totally free Blog at

Philip Finlay Bryan

+353 89 429 7539

dude.starship in Tullamore for Skype ( don’t just ask for contact details as I get a lot of spam, ask for “help” )

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